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New Avengers #51: Review

Mar 2009
Brian Michael Bendis, Billy Tan

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

New Avengers #51 Review by (August 22, 2017)
The cover shows some of the characters who could be contenders for the role of Sorcerer Supreme. Clockwise from top left I see Brother Voodoo, Scarlet Witch (the real 1, not Loki impersonating her in Mighty Avengers), Clea, Hood, Dr Doom, Ghost Rider (I believe Johnny Blaze), Magik, Dormammu and Hellfire (of the Secret Warriors).
But I don't believe Clea, Dormammu and Hellfire are contacted by the Eye of Agamotto in #53.

There are 2 art teams on this issue (and the next). The regular team of Billy Tan, Matt Banning and Justin Ponsor are helped out by Chris Bachalo, Tim Townsend and Antonio Fabela. The GCD saves me the the job of identifying who did what. Chris Bachalo's mob did the Hood/Dr Strange segments in p1-2 and p6-12. Billy Tan covered the Avengers in p3-5 and p13-21 including the final page image of DrS.

This issue is split in another way too. The Marvel Chronology Project puts p1-5 immediately after last issue, but inserts a large gap before the rest of the issue (and #52-54). Hood (& Dormammu), Ms Marvel and Ronin do lots of stuff in that gap, as do the rest of the NAv. I tracked their activities halfway in my comments on #50, and I'll finish it here.

I left Hood in his own mini-series Dark Reign: Hood. After that the Punisher went after his gang in Pu#2-10. Then Hood attended 2 Cabal meetings in Mighty Avengers #24 in between which he had a gang war with Mr Negative in DR:MN#1-3.
Dormammu is behind the scenes in all those except Pu#5 where he gives Hood the power to resurrect loads of Punisher's old victims. But he also had some things of his own to do in X-Infernus #1 and Captain Britain & MI-13 Annual #1 where he appears with other Hell-Lords.

As in the 1st half Logan and Spidey are too busy to follow completely. But they are both are involved in the Time: 2099 event with Cap and Cage. Then Carol Danvers comes back from the 'dead' and resumes her Ms Marvel role in her #39-46 with help from her team (except Mockingbird) in ##40-43. She guests in Marvel Comics Presents #4 (Vanguard story) and then rejoins the whole team (missing Ronin this time) for Thing's wedding in Fantastic Four #569. Then Cap, Luke, Spidey and Wolvie are among the crowd in Hulk #601 interested to know if Bruce Banner has really lost his Hulkiness.

Dr Strange may have lost/given up his Sorcerer Supreme title in Annual #2 but he's still been a busy magician since then. I've previously tracked him as far as Wasp's funeral in Mighty Avengers #20. After that he repaired Thor's hammer in his #602 before Thing's wedding in FF#569.

Man-Thing débuted in Savage Tales magazine #1, had his own strip in Marvel Comics Presents #165-167, teamed up with Ka-Zar and Bobbi Morse (before she was Mockingbird) in Astonishing Tales #12-13, and had another tale in Monsters Unleashed magazine #5. Then he headlined Adventure Into Fear #10-19.
Jennifer Kale joined his cast in AIF#11.

Alias #22-23 told how Jessica Campbell had a crush on Peter Parker and was there when he was bitten by the radioactive spider in Amazing Fantasy #15. Her family were killed in a car crash and she was in a coma for 6 months, after which she was adopted by the Jones family and discovered her powers of flight and strength.
A backup tale in ASM#601 will tell how Jessica and Peter chat after this story arc is over. It will retcon her into a char in a panel in ASM#4 p12 watching Spidey fight Sandman. She will say that this inspired her to become superheroine Jewel.

Next issue will include a flashback showing how the Hood/Dr Strange/Wiccan fight developed.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers #51 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Image from New Avengers #51
We open with Hood and his demon lord Dormammu. The amount of power Dormammu has channelled into Parker Robbins causes him great pain. The demon says that the only way he can get rid of the pain is by mastering the power. And to do that he needs to kill the ex-Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange. Do that and *he* will be the new SS. But others seek that power too.

Carol Danvers is in the New Avengers' secret HQ (courtesy of Captain America (Bucky Barnes)) watching a repeat of Clint Barton's TV interview (end of last issue) where he publicly denounced Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers as criminals (he also meant that Hood's gang worked for Osborn too). It is followed by a recording new to us of Simon Williams declaring superheroing a waste of time. What does it get you? Janet Van Dyne (Wasp) dead and Norman Osborn in charge.

Ronin returns and Ms. Marvel ticks him off for the interview. Clint says he intended to make Osborn angry to hasten the time when he slips up and is brought down.

Some time later Wiccan of the Young Avengers is walking in Dover, New Jersey when he spots a police chase and calls down a lightning bolt on the criminals' van. As he slips away he finds Dr Strange watching him. Stephen commends him on his effective tactic and anonymity but warns that he was lucky the truck didn't hit any bystanders.

Strange buys Billy Kaplan breakfast and asks if he's heard of Jennifer Kale who used to be pally with Man-Thing. Billy doesn't know *either* of them. Stephen says he visited her in Florida to see if she was the 1 to be the new Sorcerer Supreme, but she wasn't. Dr Strange then has to explain that he abused his power and lost the right to the title. (DrS took on the power of the demon Zom to fight Hulk in World War Hulk. And he used dark magic to defeat Hood and his gang in our Annual #2.)

Stephen offers to train Billy, and *he* might be the new SS. He doesn't know, but expects it to be clear when he *does* find the right person. There are many possible candidates - he just hopes it's not Dr Doom. DrS is supposed to give his replacement the Eye of Agamotto, the Cloak of Levitation and the Wand of Watoomb. (The 1st 2 are classical attributes of DrS, but the Wand not so much.)

Just then Hood turns up in (fairly restrained) demon form. His power enabled him to track Strange when he used his magic (which was when exactly?).

The NAv are holding a meeting in their HQ over takeout. Clint takes charge quite naturally and gets voted leader (he's led the West Coast Avengers before). (Cap, Carol and Luke Cage turn it down, and Jessica Jones (and baby Danielle Cage), Mockingbird, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman and Wolverine don't offer.) He makes Carol is 2nd in command.

The 1st item on the agenda is Spidey - the only person there who hides his identity. He has to make a choice - unmask or quit. He comes up with his usual reasons for keeping it secret (but he can't tell them what few but he remember - that he revealed his identity in Civil War with dire consequences). But in the end he shows them his face and tells them he's Peter Parker.

The immediate reaction is unexpected - Jessica Jones knows him and gives him a hug. It turns out they were in high school together and she had a big crush on him. But Peter doesn't remember her until she mentions that she spent some time in a coma after a car crash - then he remembers her as 'Coma Girl'. (We learnt most of this before in Alias #22-23.) Luke Cage isn't happy about all this, and Jessica is dismayed that she made so little impression on Peter.

The 2nd reaction is when Pete tells them Norman Osborn is his best friend's father. Barton sees this as an opportunity but before Parker can explain why it isn't so simple the meeting is interrupted. Dr Strange crashlands outside.

Preview Pages
Click sample interior pages to enlarge them:

Billy Tan
Matt Banning
Justin Ponsor
Billy Tan (Cover Penciler)
Matt Banning (Cover Inker)
Paul Mounts (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Richard Starkings.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(James "Bucky" Barnes)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)

(Clint Barton)

(Peter Parker)

(Jessica Drew)

(Billy Kaplan)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Danielle Cage.

> New Avengers: Book info and issue index

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